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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have worked successfully at my employers firm for 18 months

Customer Question

I have worked successfully at my employer’s firm for 18 months and was recruited to join for a specific role. After a few months with this company I was asked to leave the role I was hired for and start an entirely new role. To-date I have no title and no role description for what I do.

After having 3 different managers due to constant company re-organizations I have been with my 4th manager for 3 months. This manager has reduced my responsibilities to the point where I could conduct my job part-time. Most of my duties could be executed by an intern not a 15+ year professional. I just received my year-end review which was largely negative and only focused on the time that he managed me. He did not consider my previous managers’ review nor work executed through out the year. There was no effort on his part to tell me during this time period that I needed to improve my performance.

Mentally and emotionally I cannot continue working at this company. I am losing valuable skills. In my previous role I headed up a division and reported to the CEO. I would like to be able to claim unemployment while I seek new employment. I need to know if I can claim constructive dismissal or how I can construct leaving that allows for unemployment benefits.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic and I wonder whether you’re still waiting for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will do my best to find an Expert to assist you right away. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes I am waiting for an answer.
Expert:  Fran-mod replied 5 years ago.
Sometimes, finding the right Expert can take a little longer than expected and we thank you greatly for your understanding. We’ll be in touch again shortly.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

I hope that you will appreciate a very direct answer although it is not exactly what you are hoping to hear.

As a general rule, an employee cannot quit their employment and receive unemployment benefits. This is because one of the requirements of receiving benefits is that the claimant be out of work "through no fault of their own." When a worker voluntarily leaves their position, the EDD typically regards XXXXX XXXXX as "with fault," because they are essentially unemployed by choice.

There are certain limited exceptions to this rule, such are leaving work "with good cause." (UI Code 1256)

"Good cause" is defined in Section 1256-3(b) as follows:

'Good cause' exists for leaving work, when a substantial motivating factor in causing the claimant to leave work, at the time of leaving, whether or not work connected, is real, substantial, and compelling and would cause a reasonable person genuinely desirous of retaining employment to leave work under the same circumstances. Generally good cause for leaving work is decided on the facts at the time the claimant left work. Unless there is a timely connection between any alleged reason for leaving and the actual leaving, the employee has waived what might otherwise justify termination of the employment relationship and has negated the required causal connection between any given alleged reason for leaving and leaving. The claimant may submit several reasons for leaving work, some of which, when considered individually, do not constitute good cause. However, if one reason which is good cause is a substantial motivating factor in causing the claimant to leave work, the claimant's leaving is with good cause.

Section 1256-3(c) also provides:

Prior to leaving work, the claimant has a duty to attempt to preserve the employment relationship. Failure to do so negates what would otherwise constitute good cause.

Title 22, Section 1256-3 further provides:

This duty may be satisfied by reasonable steps, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

- Seeking an adjustment of the problem by allowing the employer an opportunity to remedy the situation if the employer can reasonably do so.
- Seeking a leave of absence or transfer to other employment with the same employer if likely to remedy the problem and if the claimant knew or should have known that a leave or a transfer probably would have been granted had one been requested.
- Taking steps within his or her own control, such as hiring a sitter for child care to solve a child care problem, or joining a car pool or repairing an automobile or purchasing a replacement vehicle to solve a transportation problem.

For a more in depth discussion about what constitutes reasonable cause, visit this link: Scroll down about 2/3 of the page.

The short answer is that undesirable work conditions typically do not qualify as substantial justification to leave one's position and collect unemployment. However, if the conditions are so poor that a reasonable person could not possibly continue work, and the worker has done what he or she can to preserve the employment relationship, that worker may be eligible for benefits upon leaving the job.

All of this is to say that it is extremely difficult to collect UE benefits when one leaves their job voluntarily. Even in cases where the working conditions were truly egregious, the worker takes a big risk leaving with anticipation of collecting benefits, because the EDD rules on these things on a case-by-case basis, so it's impossible to predict with certainty what will happen in any individual instance.

I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Please abide by the honor code of this website by kindly clicking on the GREEN ACCEPT button if my answer has been helpful to you. Thank you very much.